Since 2019, the attitude toward drones and air taxis has become more positive in Germany. This is demonstrated by a survey conducted by YouGov on behalf of the Verband Unbemannte Luftfahrt (VUL - German Unmanned Aviation Association). According to the survey, more than half of the respondents support the use of drones for civilian purposes. And compared to 2019, more and more people can imagine using air taxis for certain routes themselves.
Survey results in detail:
Acceptance of drones for civilian use is increasing
More than half of the respondents (51 percent) accept the use of drones for civilian use. These are seven percentage points more than in 2019. At the same time, scepticism towards drones is declining. Today, 28 percent oppose their use, which is 12 percentage pointslower than in 2019. Nearly a third of the 2019 sceptics no longer have any doubts three years later.
The acceptance of drones is particularly high when used in humanitarian aid (85 percent), agriculture (77 percent) or for delivering packages to remote areas (72 percent). However, the closer the use of drones gets to the respondents' everyday lives, the more likely it is they reject it, for example delivering packages in big cities (48 percent), delivering food (49 percent) or using drones as toys (51 percent). But since 2019, acceptance has increased for almost all application scenarios.
Scepticism about drones is decreasing
People in Germany still have reservations towards drones although scepticism has waned since 2019. Seventy-eight percent think that an invasion of privacy is somewhat or very likely. But compared to 2019, misgivings have dropped by four percentage points. Concern that criminal acts related to drones could be an issue also fell by four percentage points (to 75 percent). Another 69 percent fear collisions or crashes caused by drones. That is six percentage points less than in 2019.
More and more people can see themselves using an air taxi
Air taxis as a means of passenger transportation have gained a significant amount of acceptance since 2019: depending on the type of route, between 39 and 45 percent of the respondents could imagine boarding an eVTOL (electric vertical take-off and landing aircraft). With 45 percent, acceptance is highest for journeys of up to 200 kilometres between two cities (+ 18 percentage points since 2019). The majority would prefer to use an air taxi controlled by a pilot rather than an unmanned one.
Enthusiasm towards air taxis is also reflected by the respondents willingness to pay higher prices for a flight: 50 percent of the respondents would be ready to pay more than for a cab ride and 26 percent would even pay at least twice the price of a cab.
Reasons for rejecting air taxis
If there are sceptics towards air taxis, poor sustainability is mainly cited (12 percent). Eleven percent oppose air taxis because they believe it would not solve basic transportation problems. A further 11 percent are against air taxis because they find current means of transportation sufficient. Nine percent said they knew too little about air taxis to support them.
The chairman of the VUL Steering Committee Michael Garvens also believes that raising awareness will be crucial to increase the acceptance of drones and air taxis. "It is good that broader segments of the population are becoming aware of the potential uses of drones and air taxis. But industry and policymakers need to explain more how drones and air taxis work and where their greatest potential lies. Drones and air taxis represent the interface of digitalisation and electrification and provide groundbreaking trends towards sustainable aviation. It needs further support from politicians and authorities. A national roadmap, building on the German government's action plan ‘Unmanned aerial systems and innovative aviation strategies’, would give the topic a new strategic meaning and would help to exploit its benefit for the entire society. The European Commission has set a good example in this respect by creating a Drone Strategy 2.0."